SUCCESS STORIES

Do you have a success story you want to share? If so, please let us know.

Rachel Summers

posted Apr 4, 2018, 8:41 AM by Chris Alma Jose   [ updated Apr 4, 2018, 9:16 AM ]

Rachel Summers

Rachel Summers

In the beginning of 2016, I received a letter from the Social Security Department about the Ticket to Work program. After doing more research into this, I found that I would be eligible to work from my home in an online situation. I contacted DVR in Cody and became eligible for their services. 

Nicole Langman, my DVR Counselor, helped to get me into training with a company called NTI. After going through all their training and applying for many positions over several months, it just wasn’t working out. I don’t know if it was due to geography (my location) or educational experience, but it wasn’t working for me.

At that point, I sat down and took a long, hard look at my situation. I thought to myself, “What do I know how to do, that I could make money at and is not currently available in this area?” I landed upon sewing and alterations. I didn’t know anyone that was doing it. However, I enjoy sewing and I knew I’d like to do more than just alterations. So, I contacted Nicole Langman and we discussed the idea of starting my own business.

Nicole put me in contact with Inge Huband of BEP for the State of Wyoming. Inge Huband helped me through the entire process and even helped me get the start up money I would need for my small business venture. The Business Plan development was the biggest and the hardest part of the whole thing, but Inge helped me through it every step of the way. It is also the biggest single item for success, in my opinion. You have to get every aspect of your business down on paper. Inge kept pushing me and helped me get through the hard parts.

In November of 2016, I received my two sewing machines that were allocated to me by Schuyler Hinckley through DVR and the start up money through BEP. I started sewing small items for people (i.e. zippers, buttons, patches, etc.) to see if there truly would be a need for my business and thus a future for me. There was definitely a need.

In the early Spring of 2017, the Business Plan was finished. Alterations & More was born, and I finally felt like I had a definite path to follow. Inge helped me to understand time management and goal setting in the business realm. I put a small ad in the service section of a newspaper classifieds which served the Big Horn Basin. I started getting calls from not just the Greybull-Basin area, but as far away as Cody, WY (50 miles) and Powell (45 miles), Worland (35 miles) and Lovell (40 miles), as well as rural villages around the Park County and Big Horn County area. All those customers traveled to me to have their sewing and alteration needs met. Alterations & More was no longer a dream, but a reality.

With the help of Jessica Williams, my new DVR Counselor, I had business cards printed and signage put on my car as well as an actual sign made for my place of business. It was taking off and starting to grow. I had put Alterations & More under an LLC that I had gotten when I thought I might be working online and with the help of Inge Huband, once again, it was a smooth transition for me. Inge also stressed to me the importance of obtaining all the needed and correct licensures. It makes things go a lot smoother, especially with collecting sales tax and following state laws. Inge made sure I followed this protocol and I’m glad I did.

My business was taking off and growing. I had business cards, signs, and a steady clientele to prove it. If I have one piece of advice, it is this, “Treat your customers right, and never underestimate the power of word of mouth.”

By October 2017, things were going pretty well and Doug Harsh, my last DVR Counselor, helped me with my final purchase of mannequins and thread. In this business, there are times when I’m so busy that I feel overwhelmed (but it’s a good feeling) and then there are lag times. In those lag times, I design clothing for people and items to sell at craft fairs and shows. I average around $300 per month profit after expenses. 

Overall, it has been a great experience for me. My ultimate goal now is to give back what I have been given. I’d like to teach others how to sew. I don’t see them as competition, but just fellow sewers.

I’d like to thank Nicole Langman, Jessica Williams, Schuyler Hinckley, Theresa Whitpan, and Doug Harsh of Cody DVR. A special thanks to Inge Huband of BEP.  You have made something that was complicated simple, so that I could understand it. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Kathryn Knepper

posted Feb 9, 2018, 3:02 PM by Chris Alma Jose   [ updated Feb 14, 2018, 8:10 AM ]

Kathryn Knepper

Kathryn Knepper

Katherine identified her disability to be: hearing loss in both ears and came to VR as a self referral. When she came in she was already employed and hoping DVR would help her maintain her employment as she was having difficulties with her communication exchanges in the workplace. She was not able to hear verbal requests/instructions given and therefore struggled with follow through. She also experience a great deal of difficulty processing information. These struggles caused her to be reprimanded and she feared losing her job. Kathryn participated in a hearing exam, rehabilitation counseling and guidance, and DVR assisted in purchasing hearing aids for her to be able to communicate on the job.

Kathryn now continues to maintain competitive and integrated successful employment at LCSD#1 as a special education para-professional. This has proven to be very fulfilling employment for her and she is very happy.

John Kupec

posted Feb 9, 2018, 2:58 PM by Chris Alma Jose   [ updated Apr 4, 2018, 9:18 AM ]

John Kupec

John Kupec

John, a 59 year old Air Force veteran, was referred to DVR by the VA Specialist from DWS - Employment and Training division. He identified his disability to be: TBI- Head injury. During the eligibility process we found out that his biggest barrier to employment was actually a multi-level lumbar degenerative disc disease with neural compromise and degenerative joint disease in his left knee. During the development of his Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) all three disabilities were addressed. 

After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, John found employment as a civilian as a plumber, pipe fitter and equipment operator. Due to his physical limitations, he is no longer able to do perform these job duties. John is limited in the areas of: memory, organization, planning ability, physical exertion/stamina, lifting, stooping, bending, carrying and standing for extended periods of time. He reached out to DVR in hopes that we would be able to assist him in preparing for and securing employment within his limitations.  

John participated in a psychological evaluation that allowed DVR to understand his cognitive abilities. That report showed that Mr. Kupec is experiencing early signs of dementia. John received oversight from DVR of his psychological and orthopedic disabilities and limitations associated with his diagnosis and the emotional/social and physical concerns that come with these diagnosis. DVR assisted with job placement services to assist in preparing for and securing employment within his limitations.  An assistive technology evaluation was also utilized and conducted by The University of Wyoming Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources (WATR); John was able to utilize their loan program to identify Assistive Technology (AT) that he could use to increase, maintain, and improve his functional capabilities. Vocational rehabilitation guidance and counseling was provided by DVR along the way. 

Ultimately, John was placed at 2 different part time jobs. 1. Working at the VFW part time in maintenance. He is in charge of grounds keeping. He rides a riding lawnmower, which accommodates his physical limitations. 2. Working for a real estate company as a maintenance man. In this placement he utilizes - assistive technology- a PDA- personal digital assistant- that allows him to  make lists and notes of tasks to be completed on the workday, this is an accommodation that allows him not to rely on memory to complete the tasks given. These jobs have allowed John to continue to remain active, which is a huge component of maintaining his physical and mental health. Financially, this has also freed John and his family from debt and reliance on public assistance. John is very happy in his employment and his employment is competitive and integrated and in line with his vocational goal established in his IPE.

Beth Jones

posted Nov 3, 2017, 10:13 AM by Chris Alma Jose   [ updated Feb 14, 2018, 10:05 AM ]

Beth Jones

Beth Jones

Beth Jones, originally from Cheyenne, has been working as an office aide at the Wyoming Institute for Disabilities at the University of Wyoming for nine years. Jones says the best part of her job is all of the people she meets: "I get to see people, and the people like me."

Jennifer

posted Nov 3, 2017, 10:11 AM by Chris Alma Jose   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 2:08 PM ]

Jennifer

Jennifer

Jennifer is a very bright and outgoing young lady who always dreamed of working with books. During her years in high school Jennifer explored various places to work in her community but never found the right fit. Once she graduated from school she began receiving services from a job coach provided by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Tess Robinson

posted Nov 3, 2017, 10:09 AM by Chris Alma Jose   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 2:09 PM ]

Tess Robinson

Tess Robinson

For Tess Robinson, what began as a cafeteria aide has evolved in to the activity director's assistant. She still helps in the cafeteria and knows most of the senior participants by name. She is a bright spot in these folks' eyes and they are very protective of her. She also helps in the library, calls Bingo numbers at the weekly game, and helps with parties and special events.

Tim

posted Nov 3, 2017, 10:03 AM by Chris Alma Jose   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 10:09 AM ]

Tim

Tim

One of Tim's next goals was to have a job in the community. Tim went through the DVR process and was able to get a job at Goodwill Industries in Cheyenne. Goodwill helped Tim with skills in retail, sorting and most importantly, responsibility. "It felt really good getting that first paycheck. I liked having money in my pocket that I earned myself."

Jordan

posted Nov 3, 2017, 9:53 AM by Chris Alma Jose   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 10:01 AM ]

Jordan

Jordan

Through the help of a job coach provided by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Jordan was able to acquire a position at the local Walmart. Jordan is not the typical associate, states his supervisor Sherry, rather, he is a role model for all other employees. Jordan is always on time for work, very customer service oriented and well appreciated by his co-workers.

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